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3 Ways to Scan a Document

3 Ways to Scan a Document

Document scanning has been a very essential ritual in this technically advanced virtual world. The need to scan documents arises especially when one needs close copies of legal paperwork like agreements, bonds, bills, receipts, résumés, etc. Take a look at these 3 easy ways to scan a document efficiently.
Vibhav Gaonkar
Scan and Convert
In case you wish to email a large bunch of scanned copies, it is always advisable to convert them into PDF format to reduce the file size.
To scan a document or a set of documents, one should essentially have two important things. One - proper hardware, and two - suitable software. If you have both of these, the only thing you should be knowing is how to go through the process of scanning.

The process of scanning results in the creation of soft copies of the respective document. These soft copies in most cases are closed through the medium of email, and are meant for reference purposes. A lot of scanners these days pool both the functions into a single button (Scan+Mail) which makes the process a lot easier.

Take a quick look at the three ways to scan a document.

How to Scan a Document

Method 1 : Using a Flatbed Scanner
Possess Proper Hardware
The most common and popular method is to use a flatbed scanner. These scanners are easily available in the stores or online, and can be purchased for as low as $50. Alternatively, you could also purchase a multi-function scanner which includes a scanner, printer, fax, and a copier. This is useful in case you wish to produce hard copies of the scanned documents, or fax them to the recipient.

Set up the scanner by plugging it into a power source, and connecting it to a computer.

Install a Software
Once you have the required hardware, you need to look for a good software. However, if you're planning to purchase a new scanner or multi-function, it would surely include a proprietary software which can be installed and used with the device. In case you have an old scanner, but do not possess the required software, you could surely download an open-source software from the Internet. You could download a software recommended by us.

Scan the Document
Turn on the scanner and insert the document such that the side to be scanned faces the glass bed. Next, close the scanner lid and use the software to operate the scanner.

Open the scanning software. Then, adjust the scan settings as per your requirement.
  • Select the scanning device
  • Mention the paper size
  • Adjust the color mode (Black and white, color, or grayscale)
  • Adjust the resolution in dots per inch (dpi)
These are some of the common settings found in most software. Once you're done setting your preferred values, hit the scan button. Some software also offer a preview of the scan wherein you can crop the scan size or manipulate other minor settings like rotating or changing the scan quality.

When scanned, attach the file from the scanned documents folder and send it to the desired recipient via email.

Method 2: Using a Portable Scanner
A portable scanner is a small handheld scanner which works on batteries and can be connected to a computer in order to transfer scanned images. These devices work without a computer and save the scanned images to a memory card.

There are two basic types in such scanners; the first one requires the user to slide the scanner over the document gradually as it scans portion by portion, the second one requires the user to insert the document through one end and retrieve it from the other.

In case of the former,
  • Turn on the scanner and place it over the document to be scanned.
  • Ensure that the area to be scanned is in between the width indicator marked on the scanner.
  • Hold the document with one hand and the scanner with the other.
  • Press the scan button once and slide the scanner gradually over the document to get the best possible quality.
  • Once done, press the button once again to stop scanning.
In case of the second type of scanner,
  • Press the scan button.
  • Some of these devices also offer to scan the document in a PDF format, select this option in case you need to.
  • Insert the document to be scanned face-up into the paper feed slot. Once the scanner scans the whole page, it would save the file to the removable device.
  • Some scanners also provide the option of connecting a flash drive or a smartphone to scan on-the-go.
In case of a portable scanner, it's better to refer to the user manual as the operating instructions might differ with several models of each different brand.

Method 3: Using a Smartphone Application
This is a very quick and trending method to quickly scan a document at hand. Such applications by default convert the scanned image to a PDF format.

Genius Scan is one such popular app that helps achieve quick scanning through a smartphone. You can download it for both iOS and Android.

Nothing can be easier than clicking a photograph of the document to be scanned; it simply requires a tap and the scanning is done in seconds. Once you click the snap, you can crop it to your specifications and save it on your phone. You could then attach the file to an email or share it via instant messaging.

Although, this method is quick, it would provide a satisfactory scan quality depending on the capability of your camera. For high quality scanning, it's better to resort to any of the first two methods.

If you require to scan documents frequently, any of the first two methods would suit you better. However, in case your scanning needs aren't very frequent, you could use the smartphone method for quick and easy scanning from anywhere.